Racepoint Group is very excited to present to you another episode of RPG Live, where a group of Racepoint Group employees discuss the latest culturally relevant issues and trends we’re seeing in the news and pop culture, hosted by our own Evan Siff. This week’s episode features a very special guest from RPG’s Hong Kong office, Emma Matuschka (coolest Kiwi in the world), Ben Haber, Nick Liberati and Ally Peebles. Please have a listen as we discuss:
1. Social Media During Disasters
Does social media help or hurt more during times of distress and tragedy?
Is social media too powerful in the wrong hands? What (if anything) can be done to prevent occurrences like the AP Twitter hack (and the subsequent stock market dip) from happening?
3. Google Glass
Have you tried anything like it yet? What do you think of the concept, is it inevitable that we’ll all be wearing these in a couple years? Will you be an early adopter?
4. Emma Loves Boston
What has been the best/worst part of Emma’s trip to Boston?
Racepoint Group is very excited to present to you another episode of RPG Live, where a group of Racepoint Group employees discuss the latest culturally relevant issues and trends we’re seeing in the news and pop culture, hosted by our own Evan Siff. This week’s guests include Tyler Kizner, Erin Knapp, Amanda Nadile and Carrie Weiss. Please have a listen as we discuss:
1. Employers asking for Facebook passwords
Do you think certain employers should be allowed to ask potential employees for passwords to access their social media accounts?
Twitter’s video service has already been used to apply for jobs, what are some other possible uses for this platform?
Have you tried this new Chrome application that lets users insert hidden messages into their Facebook photos? Does it seem useful to you, or just another gimmick?
4. Zombie Apocalypse
TV shows like The Walking Dead and upcoming movies like World War Z seem to be quite popular these days – what do you think you would do in the event of a zombie apocalypse?
Please feel free to give us a shout out with questions or comments via Twitter!
Racepoint Group is very excited to present to you another episode of RPG Live, where a group of Racepoint Group employees discuss the latest culturally relevant issues and trends we’re seeing in the news and pop culture, hosted by our own Evan Siff. This week’s guests include Ashley Crutchfield, Colleen McCarthy and Lori Niquette. Please have a listen as we discuss:
1. Netflix, Hulu Plus, Original Content
Do you subscribe? How do you feel about their original content and which devices do you watch on?
2. iPhone vs. Android
Have you recently made a switch? What features would you like to see on the Galaxy S4 or iPhone 5S? Are phones now becoming too big?
3. March Madness
Who do you have winning the NCAA men’s basketball tournament? Have you been following via an app on your smartphone? (Note: this recording is from yesterday, 3/28 – Miami was crushed last night by Marquette 71-61, once again destroying Evan’s bracket hopes and dreams…)
4. Spring has Sprung
What are you looking forward to most about Spring?
Please feel free to give us a shout out with questions or comments via Twitter!
This is a guest post by Evan Siff. Follow him on Twitter@Stairway2Evan.
While everyone is drooling over the recently released Hunger Games, I really couldn’t care less, as I have already seen it many years ago when it was called the Running Man (Katniss would never have made it past Subzero).
However, being a huge fan of Ridley Scott and the original Alien series, I absolutely can’t wait to see Prometheus on the big screen. I have watched the trailer close to 25 times and wouldn’t be surprised to find myself with the rest of the geekdom, camped out for tickets with a plush, Alien “Facehugger” pillow.
It remains to be seen whether Prometheus will be one of the best films of 2012, but in terms of marketing it has already demonstrated a great deal of media savvy with its website, teaser and viral video campaign, including:
Stunning stills from the film are being unlocked one by one via ProjectPrometheus.com, which was unveiled last weekend, and you can follow them on Twitter here. With three more months until its release (June 8), we can expect some serious hysteria among fans. Will you be going to see Prometheus this summer? What is your favorite viral marketing campaign?
Given that we’re checking Email in the middle of the night, is it really necessary for us to be checking Facebook while driving? It would appear so, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article. Email, I can understand. As noted in our last post, many of us (especially us PR folk) work in industries that don’t shut down at 5:00 on Friday, and as a result, we have grown somewhat dependent on our mobile devices that allow us to stay connected to our work at almost any given time. The need to check friends’ status updates while on the road is another story.
That all said, I’m not really sure how to address this emerging trend. Texting and driving is illegal in many states, including MA, but I know many people who disregard that law regularly. And if people aren’t texting and driving, there’s a good possibility that they’re eating, doing their makeup, playing with the radio, or checking Facebook while driving. In the WSJ article, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood compares his goals to change attitudes toward distracted driving to the efforts being made to eliminate drinking and driving. While there is definitely a heightened awareness of the dangers of the latter, we hear about the consequences all too often. It’s a long, up-hill struggle, ahead.
What do you think? Is Facebooking and driving a threat? If it is, is there really anything we can do to prevent it?
Infographics are quickly becoming a media and public relations industry buzz word / topic. Why you ask? Two major reasons. As corporations continue to shift into their role as media companies and content curators, they’re realizing the opportunity to package interesting data to the media and consumers in new ways. More importantly, media organizations and editors are now focusing on finding new ways to engage their readership. Infographics happen to solve both of these problems by packaging data in a way that makes it both engaging and easy to read.
A few weeks ago I sat down with Sam Whitmore of Sam Whitmore’s Media Survey for Racepoint Group’s video newsletter to discuss how brands and agencies can leverage infographics and why they’re becoming the “new slide shows” for media outlets desperate for engaging content. While Sam cautioned that infographics aren’t B-roll (most media outlets like to play a role in building them), he did pass along some interesting insight into how PR practitioners and marketers can leverage the media’s interest in this new category of content.
For more insight on infographics, along with the latest news and trends in marketing, PR and communications in the technology space subscribe to Racepoint’s “The Point: Tech Edition.
Last year at Fortune’s Brainstorm: Tech I watched News Corp. digital czar Jon Miller talk almost glowing of the new talent News Corp. was bringing into MySpace. It was just two months after the hiring of Facebook’s Owen Van Natta as CEO and without mentioning him by name, Miller appeared to lay out the case for why Van Natta was the man to lead MySpace forward:
“You can’t do everything and you can’t do it all yourself. You have to look outside in addition to within. You must be focused. We are focused on music, games and video. You can’t play catch-up. It requires a top-to-bottom (culture) shift. Part of the idea of bringing in the new team was to make this shift. We’re going to make a culture that is product focused, entrepreneurial and dedicated to continued innovation.”
However, maybe it was telling that Miller refereed to “them” as a team and not Van Natta as the lone savior. Because now, only 6 months later, Van Natta is out of a job and MySpace COO, Mike Jones, and chief product officer, Jason Hirschhorn (both handpicked for the “team” by Miller) appear to be at the helm of a still-teetering ship.
Kara Swisher of All Things Digital (a News Corp owned publication)reports that contrary to public statements, Miller fired Van Natta after all day meetings on Wednesday. In his internal memo to staffers, first picked-up by PaidCotent (in-full below), Miller noted that Van Natta was “stepping down,” while praising the efforts of Jones and Hirschhorn.
He did however, give some credit to Van Natta for a slight revival for MySpace, noting “We added over 1.5 million users and grew significantly in time spent last month – as a result of many of his efforts.”
So why the abrupt exit if they were headed in the right direction? One obvious reason is that Rupert Murdoch is still not happy where MySpace is. He publicly noted in a recent earnings call that “It’s (MySpace) not where we want it.” During that same call, the company highlighted that its digital media group dropped $32 million from a year earlier – largely due to marketers moving away from MySpace and into Facebook. But what can they do with it at this point?
The new team’s vision appeared to be focused on music and gaming. MySpace still has the in into Hollywood and New York. But with shrinking traffic, can they build subscription services into the mix? There have been rumors about a music subscription service but nothing has been announced publicly. Without that, the site appears to be a niche site that won’t be a revenue maker for the company. Could they on-load it? Maybe a Russian investor like Digital Sky Technologies (investor in Facebook) would be interested speculate media insiders, but I’m not sure what other appetite is out there for MySpace in its current state.
But perhaps the bigger question is where will Van Natta end up? Perhaps, Twitter?
Today we announced that Owen Van Natta is stepping down as MySpace’s CEO. Mike Jones and Jason Hirschhorn, who have each done a great job from both an operational and product perspective, are being elevated to co-Presidents and will assume Owen’s responsibilities. While this may be a surprising turn of events for some of you, I am absolutely confident that this change is best for all parties involved and – most importantly – the MySpace business. Owen took on an incredible challenge in assuming leadership of MySpace during a difficult period. He has worked to refocus and revitalize the company, and I believe MySpace is pointed in the right direction and gaining valuable momentum – we added over 1.5 million users and grew significantly in time spent last month – as a result of many of his efforts. However, in discussing with Owen his priorities for the future both personally and professionally, we both agreed that it was best that he step down at this time. I am grateful to Owen for his hard work, and I ask that you join me in wishing him well in the future. His departure is effective immediately, as are the appointments of both Mike and Jason.
I will leave it to Mike and Jason to communicate to all of you their excitement about the future and their priorities for the business going forward, but I would like to express my confidence in their ability to lead MySpace into this new and promising chapter. Since joining in April, their efforts on both the operational and product development fronts have been vital to our recent progress.
Thank you all for your continued hard work, and please join me in congratulating Mike and Jason on their new roles, and in wishing Owen all the best in the future.
Office of Jonathan Miller
Chairman & CEO, News Corp. Digital Media Group
Chief Digital Officer, News Corporation
Over the past few months Racetalk has discussed the ways Senators John McCain and Barack Obama have used social media to get their messages out, – read here, here and here. Today, Reuters announced that Barack Obama is once again using a new medium to reach voters – this time through online video gaming.
While advertising in games has been popular for a few years now, Obama is the first Presidential candidate to buy ad space in video games. Obama is using the Internet ads to target specific voters – 18-34 year-old males who are hard to reach through traditional advertising because they spend less time watching TV and reading. The in-game banners and billboards will be used to help expand the reach of VoteforChange.com so that more people can register to vote, obtain absentee voter information or find an early voting location.
According to the article, Obama’s advertising will be featured in 18 popular online games through the Xbox Live service including “Guitar Hero 3“, “NBA Live 08” and “NFL Tour” and are targeted to 10 key battleground states where early voting is available. The ads will be targeted at gamers in particular geographical areas though the IP addresses registered with their Internet service provider when they log on to Xbox Live.
No word was mentioned on how much Obama spent on the ads, and it remains to be seen whether the ads will be effective, but it’s clear that Obama has his pulse on how to reach young voters, and that’s something that McCain still struggles with.
In the spirit of the Olympics, an event that not only transcends sport but also the very meaning of competition (Bob Costas is rubbing off on me), it seems appropriate to spotlight the media industry competition that has become a pseudo Shakespearean subplot to the Beijing games.
A wiser man passed along this week that Herbert Hoover once said, “Competition is not only the basis of protection to the consumer, but is the incentive to progress.”
It’s hard to argue against the fact that competition in the technology and media sectors has changed the way the Beijing Games are being covered; leading to a progressive viewing experience that seems to be sitting well with viewers.
“NBC’s decision to delay broadcasting the opening ceremonies by 12 hours sent people across the country to their computers to poke holes in NBC’s technological wall — by finding newsfeeds on foreign broadcasters’ Web sites and by watching clips of the ceremonies on YouTube and other sites. In response, NBC sent frantic requests to Web sites, asking them to take down the illicit clips and restrict authorized video to host countries. As the four-hour ceremony progressed, a game of digital whack-a-mole took place. Network executives tried to regulate leaks on the Web and shut down unauthorized video, while viewers deftly traded new links on blogs and on the Twitter site, redirecting one another to coverage from, say, Germany, or a site with a grainy Spanish-language video stream.”
NBC, obviously concerned that breach could tarnish viewership for its primetime broadcast and alienate advertisers, may have uncovered something about the new media landscape along the way. Early results, including the numbers for the opening ceremony – 34.2 million viewers – indicate that this year’s games are drawing more viewers in the states for an internationally hosted Olympics then ever before. David Carr nicely summed this up in his Media Equation column yesterday:
“You might assume, along with NBC executives, that the jail break of information damaged NBC’s precious choreographed broadcast. You would assume wrongly, by the way. According to Richard Sandomir of The New York Times, the four-hour opening ceremony attracted an average of 34.2 million viewers, the most ever for an opening ceremony not in the United States. I was one of them, in part because as the day wore on, I saw all manner of oohing and ahhing on the Web from bloggers and friends who had peeked in and found themselves awe-struck. By the time the broadcast rolled around, my daughter and I had been nicely primed by the Web fanatics for what was, after all, a kind of epic movie made in real time that was best enjoyed on a big screen with good resolution.”
His insight, underlines another way in which technological competition has transformed the way we watch this Olympics. For me and many others the Beijing games will likely be remembered as the first HD games. For the Torino Olympics NBC produced 50 percent of the events in HD. This year, for the first time, the Olympics are being produced entirely in HD. For borderline Olympic watchers (like me) this makes a huge difference. In Boston, Comcast has dedicated HD Olympic channels that broadcast basketball and soccer 24 hours a day in HD. This weekend, I found myself cultivated by the Brazil vs. New Zealand soccer game in HD and ended up sitting through the Ivory Coast vs. Serbia game after that – only because it was in HD.
He also reports that commercials go something like this:
“In just a couple of minutes, CNBC is going to drop their business news programming,” the Fox anchor Liz Claman says in commercials that will run on CNBC in Chicago, New York, and other major markets beginning today. “Switch to the Fox Business Network,” she says. “Real business news and no games!”
I have to admit, it’s hard to take your eyes off of Fox Business. Kind of like it’s hard to take your eyes off a train wreck.
Wall Street Journal Vs. Washington Post: Ron Grover, BusinessWeek’s venerable LA Bureau chief became the latest to weigh in on Rupert’s charge to take down the New York Times last week. What got Don to finally address the issue? Here’s what:
“The day after General Motors announced a stunning $15.5 billion quarterly loss, the Journal which Murdoch has controlled for a year, led instead with the more tantalizing story of a federal scientist’s suicide while under investigation in the anthrax case.”
Today’s Journal, interestingly enough, leads with the Georgia and Russia conflict. It also includes a separate page 1 story that analyzes how Vladimir Putin has drawn a line in the sand for the West. Murdoch’s Journal has made political and world news a leading priority in recent months. Even back in late March, Washington Post columnist Howard Kurtz detailed how the Journal was making political coverage its business.The percentage of political coverage on the front page of the Journal in the first four months – following Murdoch’s takeover – versus the four months previous to his takeover, jumped from 4.8 to 18 percent.
However, a funny thing has happened along the way as Murdoch continues to set his aim at the New York Times – the subplot with the Washington Post has become more interesting. It’s no secret that Murdoch had a heavy hand in showing Marcus Brauchli the door and now he’s competing as editor-in-chief at the Post in breaking poltical coverage. With Brauchli working closely with Washington Post publisher, and newly anointed media mogul Katharine Graham, it must’ve been a little chilly at this party in Beijing. Here’s hoping they didn’t cross paths.
If you ever have the opportunity to meet Chris DeWolfe, Founder and CEO of MySpace, in person; it’s likely you’ll come away from the meeting with the word charisma on the tip of your tongue. Watching DeWolfe work the patio Tuesday night at Fortune Brainstorm: TECH’s private dinner overlooking the Pacific, you could easily mistake him with a rock star.
In fact, watching DeWolfe get flocked too; I couldn’t help but think about what polar opposites he and Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, are.
DeWolfe continued his rock star ways on Wednesday at Brainstorm: TECH by announcing a new music service that will launch on MySpace in September. In an interview with Fortune’s Adam Lashinksy, DeWolfe discussed the new service which will allow users to listen to free streaming music, purchase song downloads, ringtones and even concert tickets.
“MySpace will be the center of each artists’ universe,” noted DeWolfe.
DeWolfe was quick to discuss that music is already a huge part of the MySpace offering. He stated that 5 billion songs are being played every month and 65 percent of users have a music song or video embedded on their profiles.
When asked by audience members to discuss his thoughts on Facebook, DeWolfe used the further foray into music to describe the diferences between the two often-compared companies.
“Sure we have to look at all our competitors in the 25 countries that we are in. I think they are more of a uitility that makes it efficient to communicate back and forth. I think they’d agree with that assesment. We think we do the same thing but MySpace is more about self expression and letting the users create their own exeprience. This is why we are investing so heavily in music. Music and self expression are so intertwined.”